08/03/17: Valve Tinkers with Dota 2 slate; gamescon prepares for tournament blitz; RedPeg’s brand new game

It’s Thursday August 3, 2017 and this is your weekly early morning eSports & Gaming brief.


With The International 7 action beginning to boil, plans for the next season of Dota 2 play have already been cemented by Valve. The slate will see ESL One Hamburg receive an upgrade and the event will now serve as a Major from Oct. 26-29 with a prize pool swelling from $250,000 to $1,000,000. The tournament now gives ESL three Majors for the new season, in addition to one Minor. Once The International 7 is completed, the first tournament for the new slate will be a minor hosted by StarLadder starting Oct. 11 and a prize pool of over $14 million split across the 22 events. Industry stalwart Matthew Bailey tweeted out the full schedule, which includes Dreamhack receiving two majors in Dec. and Jan., with PGL, BTS/NGE, Perfect World, Epicenter and MarsTV also reportedly hosting Majors in the new cycle.

ELEAGUE is launching a new series, locking in a multi-faceted partnership with GEICO to launch competitions for amateur gamers called the GEICO ELEAGUE Amateur Series. The slate begins with Street Fighter V, which will be held at PAX West from September 1-4 in Seattle with live streaming coverage presented on both the ELEAGUE and GEICO Gaming Twitch channels. “This partnership with GEICO provides an exciting opportunity for ELEAGUE to develop a deeper connection with the amateur esports community,” said Craig Barry, EVP and Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “We’re looking forward to broadening the reach of ELEAGUE, while providing an additional opportunity for amateur gamers to compete in an environment that closely mirrors the professional esports experience.”
Meanwhile, WESA continues to expand its wings, reeling in both North and Splyce as the newest teams to serve as full members of the organization. “We’re delighted that both North and Splyce have elected to join WESA,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Chairman and Commissioner, WESA. “Bringing in two more teams that affiliate with a leading traditional sports franchise increases our ability to both develop and build out our esports offerings, as well as move the industry forward in new and exciting ways. These organizations know the importance of structure and order in an industry, and will aid WESA’s mission to solidify these facets within our own.”

Daybreak Games detailed plans for this October’s third annual H1Z1 Invitational set to take place at TwitchCon 2017 in October. This year’s event will feature three unique tournaments of H1Z1: King of the Kill with a combined prize pool of $500,000 at the H1Z1 Arena. Tournaments will include All-Stars, Legends, and Challengers, each featuring a different group of players and prizing.

The first Universal Open Rocket League regionals have their broadcast assignments as NBC Sports Group and FACEIT bring coverage of the round to the NBC Sports Regional Networks, which will deliver more than 30 hours of linear coverage. Saturday sees the East Regional at TCN studios in Philadelphia, followed by the Northeast Regional at SNY studios in New York City on Sunday, The Midwest Regional will then run on Aug. 12 at CSN Chicago studios, followed by the West Regional at NBC Sports Bay Area studios on Aug. 13. Kevin Knocke will host NBC Sports Group’s Universal Open Rocket League coverage at all Regionals and through the Grand Finals, while Caleb Simmons, Michael Behrouzi, and Jack Collier, Joey Ahrens, and James Villar will combine to offer commentary.
MLG locked in talent for the 2017 CWL Championship with the $1.5 million competition running Aug. 9-13 in Orlando. Names will include Clint ‘Maven’ Evans, Matt ‘Mr X’ Morello, Jack ‘Courage’ Dunlop, Chris Puckett, Ben ‘Benson’ Bowe, Rich ‘Rich’ Campbell and Joey ‘Merk’ DeLuca. The full lineup is below.

gamescom 2017 will see a return of ESL Arena, featuring two dedicated esports stages and a lineup that includes PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Blade & Soul, CS:GO, CROSSFIRE, FIFA 17, League of Legends, Project CARS and Rainbow Six: Siege. ESL Arena partners at gamescom 2017 will include: Acer, AVM, Intel, paysafecard, HyperX, Gerolsteiner and Wustenrot. ESL also locked in its faces for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ first LAN event at gamescon, naming casters Lauren “Pansy” Scott and Richard “TheSimms” Simms for microphone duties.
Elsewhere at gamescom 2017, Blizzard announced that the Hearthstone Global Games will hit its conclusion at the event from August 25-26 with the remaining four teams representing Ukraine, Czech Republic, United States and South Korea fighting for a share of the prize pool worth $332,000. 
Speaking of Hearthstone, Blizzard also detailed plans for the third season of the 2017 Hearthstone Championship Tour with players battling at local Tavern Hero Tournaments over three consecutive weekends in Sept. Regional Playoffs will again use seven rounds of Swiss play to seed the top eight players in a single elimination bracket, with players being automatically eliminated from Swiss rounds after three losses. The top four players from each region’s Playoffs will be invited to the Summer Championship, which will have four dual tournament four-player groups and a single elimination top eight bracket. In this side of the Atlantic, play begins on Sept. 16, while European competition starts on Sept. 2. 
Now is the time to catch up and learn from the experts from ESL, Twitch and Nielsen! We are proud to be partnering with ESL for the Cynopsis Esports Master Class, a unique opportunity to pull back the curtain and experience for yourself what the competitive gaming industry is made of. Featuring not only lectures from some of the most successful executives in the space today, who will break down the ABCs of the business and its players, attendees will also go behind-the-scenes of ESL One New York at Barclays, and receive tickets to the weekend’s festivities for the largest esports tournament on the east coast (if you register early)! Get ahead of the learning curve and register today.
ESL announced that it will bring the UK Premiership finals for both CS:GO and League of Legends to EGX for the first time. “We are super excited about collaborating with EGX this year,” said James Dean, Managing Director of ESL UK. “Year on year, we have seen substantial growth in viewing figures for the UK Premiership so, this move to EGX not only gives us the opportunity to put on the biggest live finals in the Premiership’s five-year history, but increase the audience further through the events savvy. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of content we’ll be bringing to EGX and we can’t wait to announce more.”
Talent for The International 7 may be low in body count due to visa issues. PCGamesN broke the news that Henrik ‘AdmiralBulldog’ Ahnberg – who was set to help announce the event – was denied entry into the US and was sent back home to Sweden. The former player stated that he had a b1/b2 visa “for tourism and business” but was sent back for not having the right kind of visa, noting “The reason it was denied was because to work in the US you need a work visa. I asked them about people who travel under ESTA waiver program, and they told me that is also not acceptable.” Unfortunately, it’s too late now for Ahnberg to apply for the right kind of visa in time to attend and commentate at TI7.

The Madison Square Garden Company is deepening its ties to esports, finalizing a deal to invest in the Counter Logic Gaming franchise. The partnership also marks the first time Counter Logic Gaming has taken on formal investment, which was brokered by Catalyst Sports & Media. “As esports moves toward franchise league models similar to the NBA and NHL, we intend to leverage our knowledge and insight into the business of professional sports to play an active role in the development of this exciting industry,” said Jordan Solomon, Executive Vice President of MSG Sports.
Four European League Championship Series teams have applied for charter membership into the League of Legends’ North American League Championship Series, according to ESPN, with teams that include G2 Esports, Fnatic, Splyce and Misfits submitting applications for franchises. According the report, the applications “are a result of the lack of communication to teams regarding the future of the European League Championship Series, sources said. The teams feel there is a clearer future to invest in North American League of Legends.”
OpTic Gaming is looking to shore up the esports industry in Texas, announcing plans to relocate from Chicago to Dallas. On the team site, the franchise stated that it was working closely with members of the Dallas Chamber and Rogers Healy Real Estate to execute an official corporate relocation. The move is anticipated to take place in Q3.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to blaze trails, and recently hit 481,291 users at its peak on Steam, according to game creator Brendan Greene on Twitter. That number would make PUBG the most-played game ever on Steam not counting Valve’s own titles, CS:GO and Dota 2. The concurrent score pushed the game ahead of other titles that included Fallout 4 (471,955) and Grand Theft Auto V (360,761).
Skillz announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the company two new patents. The first covers the technology behind Skillz Arena, an eSports event platform through which consumers can organize, host and broadcast mobile eSports competitions with up to 50,000 players. The second patent covers a mobile video capture and live-streaming technology that enables mobile eSports events to be broadcast live on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. “Organized competitions and spectatorship are what make a game into a sport, transforming activities like basketball and soccer into the global sports phenomena they are today,” said Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz. “We want to make eSports more accessible to developers, streamers, viewers and players of every level. These technologies allows us to do that.”
Gfinity continues to pile out broadcast deals, inking a deal with BBC that will see esports hit BBC Three, with Gfinity’s Elite Series carried on the platform every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the next six weeks. “Esports has become hugely popular in the last few years with young audiences so it’s great that BBC Three can bring this to a mainstream audience and create new habits with younger audiences as we stream three of the most popular games on BBC Three across the weekend,” said Damian Kavanagh, Controller, BBC Three. Meanwhile, Gfinity also announced that BT Sport will air the Elite Series tournament games in the UK, showcasing weekly games until the weekend of finals from September 1st to September 3rd.
Smash.gg raised $11 million for its platforms, according to Gamesbeat, with Nabeel Hyatt, partner at Spark Capital, leading the round. “We are trying to create a ramp for people to get into esports,” said Shantanu Talapatra, CEO of Smash.gg. “It is like YouTube providing a ramp for people who want to create video.”

Injustice 2 appears to have over-delivered for Time Warner since its May 16 debut on consoles, with the company revealing during its earning roundup for the second quarter that the title ranked as “the highest-grossing console game in the second quarter of 2017. “Videogames revenues benefited from a higher number and favorable mix of releases in the current year period, including Injustice 2,” the company said in the earnings report.
Capcom reports that for the quarter ending June 30th, the company saw net sales hit $106.172 million, marking a 7.5% uptick in year-over-year numbers. Meanwhile, operating income notched $7.08 million for a 208% rise. Overall, Capcom’s total profit grew 136% to $4.70 million overall. According to the report, “We reduced expended in this quarter with the aim of profit improvement, which included reviewing and re-evaluating out cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses.”
AI-driven audience monetization platform FanAI Inc announced the successful closing of their Series Seed, led by Deepen Parikh of Courtside Ventures and included Greycroft GC Tracker Fund, BDS Capital, and more. FanAI will look to serve as the audience monetization platform that will “drive revenue for the rights owners and sponsors by allowing them to deeply understand the diverse segments and preferences of the esports audience” beginning with esports and is currently working with DreamHack.
What’s hot this week…

GSL vs the World marks the second Starcraft II World Championship Series event of the year. Sixteen of Korea’s best players will face off in Seoul for a prize pool of nearly $100,000 with the action live on Twitch from Aug.3-7. Kicking off only a day after will be the 2017 Western Clash, a midseason Heroes of the Storm event hosted by Blizzard Entertainment. Eight teams will face off for a combined prize pool of $65,000, with $30,000 going to the victors, $20,000 going to second place and $15,000 going to third. Tune into the Heroes of the Storm Twitch stream Aug. 4-6 to catch the action.
Provided by: Esports One & Esportspedia: Revolutionizing Esports Data
POWER PLAYERS – Brad Nierenberg, RedPeg Marketing

Amid the rise of experiential activation, particularly in esports, RedPeg Marketing continues to work from the trenches, activating at over 1,500 events overall each year with clients that include the likes of GEICO, Warner Bros, Ubisoft, and Square Enix in the gaming and esports space. With authenticity serving as the key activation ingredient to successful campaigns in esports, the company – led by CEO Brad Nierenbergrecently had a starring role in the GEICO ELEAGUE Amateur Series which was announced this week.
Cynopsis Esports asked Nierenberg about his thoughts on the evolution of esports, the new league and working with brands.
Nierenberg on the evolution of esports: We’ve seen the industry go from solely focusing on the tournaments, to full-scale experiences surrounding the tournaments. We’ve seen sponsors go from simply providing prize pool allocations to creating interactive integrations, both online and off. And we’ve seen gaming companies start to turn to experiential marketing to gain new customers, not just brands. 
Gaming fans are quite astute; they’re able to sniff out which brands are authentic and altruistic to the community and those that are trying to exploit the rapidly growing segment. Brands that add value to the industry are continually reaping the rewards. And that’s where we come in. For the past three years, we have helped guide clients and partners into the esports ecosystem in a credible manner. More and more, our clients are seeing the value of experiential marketing, its ability to connect with consumers, and its ability to cut through the digital clutter and connect with consumers through deeper experiences.
On working with brands: Our number one priority is to help our clients enter the gaming space in an authentic way, one that positions them as a formidable ally within the space. To do so, we work with brands through the following steps:
  1. Our first step is to introduce a brand to the world of gaming audience and opportunities. Depending on the client, they may have little or no exposure to the gaming community.
  2. Next, we listen. We want to know the brands main goals and objectives, as well as their current pain points.
  3. From there, we conduct a competitive analysis of the space, uncovering target insights that allow us to strategically enter the brand into the gaming space.
  4. Next, we marry steps two and three. It’s essential to connect what’s ownable to the brand with what is meaningful and relevant to the community in a way that works to positively impact their key objectives. This ensures that the brand integration establishes an emotional connection with gamers and fans online and offline.
Overall, we find this approach not only allows us to address the brand’s pain points, but that authentically aligns them with the gaming audience. And through our expertise in activation, we can execute on these strategies, creative concepts, and tactical plans in partnership with our clients. 
On GEICO’s esports play: We are consistently looking for ways to expand our current programs to include more teams, games and events. There are millions of opportunities, so it’s our job to find the best partners to take the GEICO Gaming brand to the next level. GEICO’s partnership from Turner is our latest example of this. Outside of gaming, Turner has been an important partner for GEICO for years now, so it only made sense to expand the partnership to include gaming, cementing GEICO as a leading non-endemic brand in gaming.
On launching the GEICO ELEAGUE Amateur Series: From day one, GEICO has supported amateur gamers in taking their game to the next level through our online and live Hearthstone Open tournaments. Their goal is to uncover hidden talent and give amateurs the chance to compete against their idols. This extension with Turner is the latest iteration of that mission. Hopefully one day, the amateurs GEICO fosters will be playing in studio at the next ELEAGUE Invitational.

Cynopsis Digital’s “It List” + The Model D Awards: Enter by Aug 15
Innovators, inspirers, creators of all kinds: Don’t let your accomplishments in digital media go unnoticed, take a few minutes to nominate yourself for this esteemed honor: The Cynopsis Digital “It List”
The Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards.
The Deadline is just Days AWAY – ENTER

ON THIS DAY in 2011: Temple Run is released.

Trivia: In 2009, this title (pictured above) helped reinvent how games were played on social platforms, topping 80 million players at its peak. What is its name? (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the name of the main character in the Witcher series? Answer: Geralt of Rivia. Kudos: Chris Davies-Virgin/London; Danny Araque/NY; Gabrielle Pedro Fredrick-National Geographic/DC; Glen Ross/DC: Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Marta Nguyen-SK+G/Las Vegas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank

Later — Chris

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JOB OPENING: BROADCAST PRODUCER/World Surf League/Santa Monica: Responsible for producing Championship Tour Broadcasts & integrated prods. Ensure efficient, timely & cost-effective prod of WSL marquee events & studio content. Min 3 yrs prod exp w/in sports environment pref’d. Resume HERE (8/10)

MGR, PROGRAMMING RESEARCH/IFC TV/NY: 5+ yrs TV rsrch exp. Prod in-depth aud analyses to help IFC create the most compelling scheduling & promo strategy. Identify effective platforms/prgrms for promo placement (incl cross-ntwrk barter), leveraging ratings, demographic, etc. Full info/apply HERE (8/9)

JOB OPENING: PROJECT MGR/CORP MKTG/A+E/NY: Manage job initiations across company & responsible for overseeing project dev from inception to release. 5+ yrs exp in Mktg/Advertising within a project mgmt environment. Apply: HERE (8/9)

JOB OPENING: COPYWRITER/ON-AIR CREATIVE/A+E/NY: Transform ideas into words & cohesive text for on-air promos, mktg campaigns, websites, etc. 3+ yrs exp writing copy for an ad agency, publishing house, cable/brdcst TV. Apply HERE (8/9)

: PRODUCER/EDITOR-ON AIR PROMO/REELZ/Albuquerque: Write, produce & edit high impact promo spots for national network series & documentaries. Excellent opportunity for fresh, talented On-Air Promo Preditor on the rise. Relocation offered to Albuquerque, NM. Apply HERE (8/8)

MEDIA SALES PLANNER/Z LIVING/NYC: Asst in daily maint of media schedules. Strong math, written & comm skills. Knowledge of media math, including CPM calculations a must. Ability to work w/sales plan’g system Wide Orbit Network. Resumes: HERE (8/5)

JOB OPENING: AD SALES ASST/Z LIVING/NYC: Detail oriented, flex & independent worker w/exc orgnztn, comm & interpersonal skills. BA deg & ability to multi task a must. Proficient in PP Excel, Word. Wide Orbit a +.  Working w/mult depts such as sales acct to keep deals on track thru finance & billing. Resume HERE (8/5)
JOB OPENING: AD SALES RESEARCH MGR/Z LIVING/NYC: Work closely w/team’s SVP & sales staff to create strategic & customized research presentations. Min 5 yrs in media rsrch w/a cable network. Solid knwlg Nielsen ratings & understanding of ad sales process and needs. Resumes HERE (8/5)

 SR COUNSEL, DIST & BIZ DEV/VIACOM/NYC: Draft, review & negotiate a variety of agreements arising from the distribution of the VMN/BETN programming services & related content on a broad array of media platforms (e.g., cable & satellite TV, telco, wireless, internet, IPTV), w/a focus on distribution agreements. 4-7 yrs exp req  Apply (8/4)

JOB OPENING: VP, PRODUCTION/AMC STUDIO/LA: 10+ yrs exp managing day-to-day production on assigned scripted series. Creative prob solver, great communicator. Exp wking with crews & tax incentives across the country & across the world. Provide leadership & oversight of physical production of scripted series and specials. Deliver compelling programming that meets creative expectations. Full info/apply HERE (8/4) 

JOB OPENING: SR MANAGER-PUBLICITY/TLC/NYC: Talented PR professional to create buzz for TLC programming and overall brand.Create/implement publicity campaigns, dev press strgy, pitch talent and prgmming. Work closely across depts & serve as NYC comms rep. 6-8 yrs exp, TV publicity exp pref’d. Apply (8/4)

Work closely with the Design and Art teams to determine the functionality and features of the user interface.
UI Programmer
Avalanche Studios
Responsible for designing, developing and maintaining many aspects of the core engine tech such as streaming, threading, and memory management.
Engine Programmer
Avalanche Studios
Working primarily on our online game services platform called “Hydra Studio”, in addition to some other internal technologies.
Senior Software Engineer
Agora Games
Troy NY
Together with your engineering team, you will share an on-call rotation and be an escalation contact for service incidents.
DevOps Engineer
Agora Games
Troy NY
Work with an agile team of artists, designers, and programmers to design, prototype, and implement new gameplay features.
Senior Gameplay Engineer
Cat Daddy Games
Kirkland WA
Identify technical and developmental risks/obstacles and generate solutions to overcome identified risks
Full Stack Tools Engineer – Mobile Games
Cat Daddy Games
Kirkland WA
Create and reviews detailed test scenarios, perform testing and analyze results.
Senior Software Engineer, Java
Redmond WA
Critique others’ creative work, offering direction for improving quality, consistency or strategy.
Senior Lead, User Experience
Redmond WA
Maintain regular contact with European brand managers and other stakeholders to deliver timely information and assets and coordinate executions between both territories.
Product Marketing Manager
Atlus U.S.A Inc.
Irvine CA
Synthesizing creative solutions and ideas is a daily task, as candidates will need to work with creative writing teams and marketing to help products achieve their maximum potential.
Associate Producer
Atlus U.S.A Inc.
Irvine CA
Work closely with the team to drive the vision for the game and improve monetization and retention.
Design Lead
505 Games
Santa Ana CA
Collaborate with art, design, and other engineers to architect, develop and support key systems.
Senior Programmer
Double Fine Productions
San Francisco CA
Use a variety of written, visual, and interactive tools to communicate level design concepts and prototypes during level development.
Level Designer
Double Fine Productions
San Francisco CA
Implement game mechanics and system processes.
Game Engineer to Freeform Labs
Starbreeze Studios
Los Angeles CA
Interface with internal teams to achieve continuous improvement of solution and documentation based on customer feedback.
VR Solutions Engineer Star VR
Starbreeze Studios
Los Angeles CA

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